Tom Adams believes his district is past the point of deciding elections based on a candidate’s stance on gay marriage. But even if he’s wrong, he isn’t changing his.
“I don’t think it’s an issue at all,” said the Fort Mill Town Council member, running against incumbent Rep. Mick Mulvaney this fall for the U.S. House District 5 seat.
“I’ve been out here for months and this was the first and only time I’ve been asked (about gay marriage). As a society I believe we’re moving past that being an issue.”
On Aug. 13, an associate pastor from his home church in Fort Mill asked Adams on Facebook for the candidate’s stance on gay marriage. Adams shared his response via email with supporters. He said he made up his mind about it “long before it was even making news.” Adams is one of six children and two of his siblings are gay, he said.
Adams taught his family to love and accept those siblings as they would anyone else.
“We did so, and I continue to do so,” Adams wrote. “We taught our children to do the same. They are equal before the Lord and should be equal before the law as well.”
Adams said he believes he is “a better man and Christ follower” for his exposure to a diverse constituent base in District 5. He also believes those residents want attention on jobs and public accountability rather than gay marriage.
“People are much more concerned about broader issues,” Adams said.
On that point, Mulvaney agrees.
“In the last four years I have personally met with, talked to or heard from well over 100,000 people in the 5th District,” Mulvaney said. “What I hear from them is that they are concerned about jobs, the economy, health care, the high price of food and gas, and the $17 trillion national debt.”
Mulvaney said he believes there’s “a small group” of people who want to make the issue bigger than it is, “because they think it will divide people and create political opportunities.”
The congressman wishes “we would spend more time talking about things that unite us, not divide us.”
As for his stance, Mulvaney cites the 78 percent of South Carolinians who approved a 2006 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as being one man and one woman.
“I think that tells us where the overwhelming majority of South Carolinians are on the issue,” Mulvaney said.
The gay marriage debate “absolutely is” personal for Adams, but the candidate hopes it isn’t a deciding factor for voters.
“Even a couple of years ago maybe it would’ve been,” he said.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but I was asked the question and I answered it as honestly as I could. I don’t know that it helps me or hurts me, and it doesn’t matter to me whether it helps me or hurts me.”